stark, and certainly gestures have been made to complicate the well-worn dichotomies between sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuryliterature and history. 31 Studies in early modern English literature have produced unusual and illuminating pairings between major authors: Shakespeare and Spenser, Shakespeare and Donne, Milton and Donne, and even Spenser and Jonson. 32 Likewise encouraging are recent re-evaluations of Spenser and Donne individually that question the standard view of each author 33 and fresh, unconventional pairings of their works in article
childhood in his poetry. See, for example, Leah Sinanoglou Marcus, Childhood and Cultural Despair: A Theme and Variations in Seventeenth-CenturyLiterature (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978) and Edmund Newey, ‘“God made man greater when he made him less”: Traherne's iconic child’, Literature & Theology 24 (2010), 227–41.
This and all subsequent quotations of Traherne's poetry are taken from Jan Ross (ed.), The
of tone or context’, Robert Burton and the Transformative Powers of Melancholy (Farnham: Ashgate, 2016), p. 5.
Northrop Frye, The Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957); Stanley Fish, Self-Consuming Artifacts: The Experience of Seventeenth-CenturyLiterature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972).
: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989).
4 Cassirer’s comment, quoted above, derives from a reading of Bruno’s Degli eroici furori – and Bruno’s possible influence on Spenser and Donne is a matter of critical debate. It seems clear that both writers knew, at the very least, of Bruno’s work and his notoriety; but he is also an important poetic predecessor for the kind of philosophic poetry that both would go on to write.
5 In a sense, a number of studies have already connected sixteenth- and seventeenth-century
Jonson in the third epigraph to this chapter: both Spenser and Donne tap into a new aesthetics entering England during the late sixteenth century, one that increasingly affects seventeenth-centuryliterature, on its way to becoming ‘the preeminent modern aesthetic category’: the ‘sublime’. 5 As we will see, Spenser and Donne are among the first leading poets in England to use the word – well in advance of Milton and the late seventeenth century, when the sublime is generally thought to have emerged. 6 In a volume featuring ‘thinking poets’, the sublime affords an
between narrative and spatial plotting have long been recognised by critics of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-centuryliterature, where the uses to which words such as ‘plat’, ‘plot’, ‘groundplot’, and ‘complot’ are put seem particularly resonant owing to their ability to connect geometrical ways of knowing to human action. 103 In his translated complaint ‘Virgil’s Gnat’, for example, Spenser invokes the action of plotting while playing with scale and orientation. He describes an aged shepherd in the act of designing and digging a tomb for the gnat who saved
the symptoms of demonic
possession, seems to have drawn inspiration from the pamphlet account
of the witches of Warboys: Sharpe, The Bewitching of Anne Gunter, pp.
7–8, 135; Anon., The Most Strange and Admirable Discoverie of the Three
Witches of Warboys (London, 1593).
11 Purkiss, The Witch in History, p. 232. Ronald McFarland, ‘“The Hag
is Astride”: Witches in Seventeenth-CenturyLiterature’, The Journal of
Popular Culture 11:1 (1977), 88–97, also comments that the play ‘is indeed
sympathetic, though it is not altogether sceptical or enlightened’ (p. 91).
calls concepts of wholeness into
question, the place of such concepts in critical discourse on sixteenth-
and seventeenth-centuryliterature remains curiously unaddressed.
Cynthia Marshall, for example, implies the pre-existence of a concept of
psychic wholeness in the suggestion that ‘a Renaissance
literature of self-shattering’ offers readers and spectators
‘an experience of psychic fracture’. 12
. Dzelzainis, ‘Milton’s classical republicanism’, in D. Armitage, A. Himy, and Q. Skinner (eds), Milton and Republicanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 3–24.
17 S. Fish, Self-Consuming Artifacts: The Experience of Seventeenth-CenturyLiterature (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1972), p. 365.
18 S. Fish, There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech, And It’s a Good Thing, Too (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 272.
19 Though it was of course Presbyterians in
nation, and that ‘no other body of
seventeenth-centuryliterature could address itself to so readily deﬁnable and
so large a readership’.7 All of which suggests that the printing of the farewell
sermons had an impact far beyond the London intelligentsia.
This chapter begins by considering the context and scope of the verbal and
scribal transmission of the farewell sermons, coupled with other activities likely
to have promoted the image of the ejected ministers. The translation of the
Bartholomean manuscripts into print will be mapped in a putative chronology